March 14, 2011
Spareribs, baby back ribs, dry rubbed ribs, wet ribs, sweet ribs, tangy ribs, spicy ribs, and so on and so on. When it comes to pork ribs, there is no single “right way!”
First you need to decide on a cut, with spareribs and back ribs (aka baby back) being the most popular. After that you need to decide for or against and pre-cooking marinades, brines and/or rubs and the flavor profiles you want those to include. Next up is the cooking style – direct heat, indirect heat, a combination of both? And finally (after I subtly table the “to foil or not to foil” debate for another day) you reach the make or break point. Finish those perfect almost* fall-off-the-bone ribs with a last minute glaze of your favorite sauce or serve them Memphis-style dry rubbed? So many possibilities and so many tasty, tasty conclusions.
Today, acclaimed pit master Chris Lilly is sharing his sweet and spicy spin on wet spareribs and later we’ll hear from Ray “Dr.BBQ” Lampe on some Memphis-style baby backs. What’s your choice? Chime in below and perhaps we’ll feature your unique twist on the pork rib debate in the near future!
Recipe courtesy of Chris Lilly, on behalf of the National Pork Board
(Serves 4 – 6)
2 racks pork spareribs with breast bone removed (St. Louis-style ribs; 6 to 7 pounds total)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons garlic salt
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup blackberry preserves
1 tablespoon reserved Dry Rub mix
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 teaspoon minced, seeded jalapeño chile pepper
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons reserve Dry Rub mix
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored molasses
1 tablespoon blackberry preserves
1/4 teaspoon minced, seeded jalapeño chile pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot chili sauce (siracha)
If necessary, remove the thin membrane from back of each rack of rib; discard membrane.
In a small bowl, stir together Dry Rub ingredients until well combined. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the rub for the Liquid Seasoning mixture and 2 1/2 teaspoons for the finishing sauce. Generously apply the remaining rub onto the front and back sides of ribs. Gently pat to ensure that the rub will adhere.
Prepare and preheat a grill for 250° F indirect heat. Place ribs on grill grate, meat side up, Close lid and cook for 2 hours, 15 minutes.
On work surface, lay out 2 double-thick sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil. Lay one rib rack, meat side down, on each double-thickness of foil. Mix the liquid seasoning in a small bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup of the liquid over each rib rack. Tightly close up the foil packages pressing out as much air as possible.
Return ribs to the grill and cook, covered, for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, for glaze, combine the white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and reserved rub in a small nonreactive saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; remove from the heat. Using a wire whisk, stir in remaining ingredients until well combined.
Carefully, unwrap the ribs and discard the foil and juices. Brush glaze on both sides of the ribs. Return the ribs to the grill and cook, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes more or until the glaze begins caramelizes. Meanwhile, heat remaining glaze.
To serve, transfer ribs to a platter and lightly brush with some of the remaining glaze. Cut each rack in 2 or 3 pieces. If desired, serve with remaining glaze to pass.
- Clint Cantwell, Grilling.com Guest Editor